‘Flexible’ defender Jake Crull has been invaluable for FC Tucson | FC Tucson

James Kelley Special to the Arizona Daily Star

FC Tucson signed defender Jake Crull in December in part because of his versatility, and he’s certainly shown it so far this young season.

The Vienna, Austria, native is tied for first on the team in scoring with two goals. He’s been a fixture on a defense that has been routinely missing players.

Crull, who played for the Charlotte Eagles of USL League Two in 2018 and 2019, returns to the Queen City on Sunday, when FC Tucson (1-3-1) faces the Charlotte Independence (2-1-2) at 3 pm

“He’s had to play a lot of minutes, he’s had to be very flexible, he hasn’t been able to see the same back four a lot of the time,” said FC Tucson coach Jon Pearlman. “Jake has been very consistent.”

Scoring wasn’t a part of Crull’s game the past two seasons, when he was a member of Union Omaha. Before that, he played two seasons in Charlotte.

“I love that city,” he said. “It’s gonna be special to go back there, I have some friends and some people who I really enjoy spending time with.”

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Tucson signed Crull this offseason because of his versatility, championship experience and fight — three traits that they admired from afar while he played for Omaha, the 2021 USL League One champions. Crull spent the first 12 years of life in Austria before moving to Carmel, Indiana. He played for a time for a club team there before attending Spring Arbor University, where he was named a three-time NAIA All-American. The Michigan-based Christian school has just over 1,000 students.

“(He’s) a guy who came from a small school and had to earn everything he has. I mean, that’s the culture we want to have here and Jake brings it every day,” Pearlman said. “He’s a mature player who’s got great faith in his life.”

Good works, too. Crull recently led a contingent consisting of FC Tucson assistant Vito Higgins, defender Kaelon Fox and Fox’s girlfriend to the Gospel Rescue Mission to volunteer. FC Tucson president Amanda Powers had encouraged them to help.

“I saw it as a good opportunity for getting guys involved, getting guys spending time together outside of this place and also as an opportunity to serve the people who are overlooked a lot of times,” Crull said.

Corner kicks

• Soccer runs in the Crull family. Jacob Crull’s brother, Tayloris a defender for San Diego Loyal of USL League Championship.

• FC Tucson will host a watch party Sunday at Home Plate Marana, 8579 N Silverbell Road. The party starts at 2:30pm

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